Blowhard, Esq. writes:

  • Blood Boil Du Jour: since 9/11, police have seized billions from motorists without a single warrant, indictment, or trial.
  • Nanny State Update. Key quote: <<Some say it is all but impossible to make compliant raw-milk cheese consistently, and that the lowered tolerance for nontoxigenic E. coli will do nothing to improve public health. “There was no health risk in all the years we operated at 100 MPN,” says David Gremmels of Oregon’s Rogue Creamery, which produces several raw-milk blues. “We look at this as an arbitrary change.” Cary Bryant, Rogue’s cheese maker, says he worries that the tightened standards may even impair public health. “People need some microbial diversity in their life,” says Bryant, a microbiologist by training. “This is going to create people with immune systems that can never handle anything.”>>
  • U.S. News and World Report thinks that Harvard, Princeton, Yale, et al. are the “best value” in college education. Aside from status-anxious parents, does anyone really believe that bullshit?
  • A Greek literature professor argues colleges should replace “critical thinking” with old fashioned bullshit.
  • Patton Oswalt thinks you shouldn’t look at photos from The Fappening, but remember those private Anthony Weiner dick pics? Hilarious.
  • I’m patiently waiting for all the feminists, sjws, and other progressives to respect this woman’s agency.
  • A former L.A. Times national security reporter, who now writes for AP, used to pre-clear all his stories with the CIA. I’m sure he doesn’t do that anymore.
  • When are people going to get sick of zero tolerance nonsense?
  • Lloyd admires Ron Chernow’s Washington bio.
  • This man is a hero. This one too. (NSFWish)
  • A little jam session between Redding and Booker T & the MGs:

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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9 Responses to Linkage

  1. Brent Buckner says:

    You write: “U.S. News and World Report thinks that Harvard, Princeton, Yale, et al. are the “best value” in college education. Aside from status-anxious parents, does anyone really believe that bullshit?”

    “Education”, no I don’t believe. “Credentialing, signaling, and networking” I may believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Will S. says:

    Patton Oswalt is a decent actor – he was good in ‘Young Adult’, and great in ‘Big Fan’, IMO – and a decent stand-up comedian. But his Twitter feed is annoying prog partythink. This double standard with respect to Anthony’s Weiner vs. Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton et al.’s bits is oh-so-typical…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tex says:

    “Best value in college education” – I always wonder what methodology in used to come up with this stuff. What are they comparing? University budgets? Student numbers? Graduation rates? Research papers published? Surveys of academics?

    Being in the higher education sector myself, I see endless amounts of this guff, and I’m yet to be convinced it isn’t a giant pile of wank.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was in law school I did an externship with students from a different law school. During this time, their school jumped significantly in the U.S. News law school rankings. They were of course quite pleased as this would potentially make their degrees more marketable, but even they were cynical about the whole thing. They knew it was bullshit. One of the factors in the increased ranking was that the undergrad college hired a Nobel prize winner. Doesn’t matter that this Nobel laureate had nothing to do with the law school and would never teach there, by a halo effect it helped to increase the law school’s prestige.


  4. Tex says:

    And the chapstick story. Sweet fucking Christ. The US seems to be turning into an insane asylum.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. agnostic says:

    Ron Bailey wrote up the chapstick story as being about zero-tolerance policies and moral panics over gateway drugs, to serve as click-bait for libertarians.

    But the facts are that the school is treating chapstick as a kind of medication that would need to be recommended by a doctor and administered by a school nurse — not what they would do with a gateway drug, and there’s no mention of kids being sent home for bringing chapstick to school.

    These ridiculously over-protective policies are serving the wishes of ridiculously over-protective parents, who make up close to 100% these days. Don’t the folks at Reason find it strange that hardly any of the parents in such cases ever grumble, let alone express their opposition to the administration, let alone make something happen by pressuring the school board, voting in a new board, etc.? If libertarians had school-aged children of their own, or knew people who did, they would realize how parents are driving these changes on the demand side.

    What episodes like this reveal is that libertarians have no way to criticize a fucked-up state of the world that does not stem from unsolicited government intervention. In these cases there is a perfect meshing of supply of and demand for over-protective school policies, no matter what the consequences are to the children (stunting them psychologically, giving them a wiener conception of morality, etc.).

    You’d think libertarians would be able to criticize such things based on their anti-authoritarianism. That seems to be the main source of our intuitive rejection of over-protective parenting, whether by parents themselves or their surrogates in the schools. Parents ought to enjoy a fair latitude in shaping the environments their children grow up in — but not at this level of micro-managing, coddling, and stunting. When it gets that bad, it’s more of an abuse of parental authority, however mild.

    Yet in the family domain, really-existing libertarians seem to direct their anti-authoritarianism toward more sensible things like the father preventing his daughter from get her nipples pierced, the father beating the ass of his teenage son who got caught shoplifting, the mother forcing her children to go to Sunday school, and so on.

    Somehow, libertarian morality promotes “anarcho-tyranny” within the family — exonerating the unjustified exercise of authority shown in all of these over-protective / stunting practices (by shifting the blame to the gubmint), while raising skepticism over justified authority such as caning your son when you discover his copy of Atlas Shrugged hidden under the mattress.


  6. Toddy Cat says:

    One of the dirty little secrets of the twentieth century is that totalitarianism was actually pretty popular in it’s early stages. Looks like the USA is right on form…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fenster says:

    There is a method to the “best value” madness. It’s not entirely rational but it has a rationale.

    These kinds of rankings are built on the concept of net price–sticker price less average tuition discount (financial aid). Harvard is so goddam rich that in addition to outspending everyone else on books ‘n fun, they outspend on financial aid, too. That is, they discount a much, much larger piece of sticker price.

    Sticker price in 2011-12 around $40K. Net price around $14.5K, according to DOE data downloadable here:

    Sure you’ll say that that is all about diversity or legacy and some of that is true. But most aid given out is plain old need based, and Harvard does a lot better job of covering need. Does this mean Harvard is less expensive? Hard to say. It’s not for people who don’t qualify for aid. But the fact remains that one way or another they are leaving almost 2/3 of sticker price on the table. They don’t need the tuition income.

    The DOE data set shows that while, sure, there are lot of schools less expensive than Harvard at between $5K and $15K, exactly *zero* are schools you have even heard of. The schools that are cheaper than Harvard are almost all one-off oddball schools like Bible colleges and rabbinical schools. Even when you compare Harvard’s $14.5K to public institutions, the publics with comparable net prices are places like Millersville University of Pennsyvania and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville–hardly a prestige lot.

    An example of a really expensive school: NYU, at $38K. Lots of ambitions and costs; limited endownment to subsidize tuition.

    So on the question of best value, let’s say your choices are:

    1. Harvard at $14.5K.
    2. A cheaper option: Mississippi College at around $10K.
    3. A same-price option: Millersville University of Pennsylvania at $14.5K
    4. A much more expensive option: NYU, at over twice the price at $38K.

    Most people would choose Harvard, and they would be right, and not only for the credentialing value. It’s a better education for the money–at least the way “best value” is calculated.

    Liked by 1 person

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